Ditch Unused Direct Debits to Save Money This Winter

By Moneysupermarket.com, PRNE
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CHESTER, England, November 10, 2011 -

 40 per cent of Direct Debit customers don’t know exactly how much cash leaves their account via Direct Debit each month
Brits pay GBP 13.7 billion via Direct Debit every month

Over one in three (38 per cent) consumers who use Direct Debits to manage their bills, don’t know exactly how much money is leaving their account each month according to research* from MoneySupermarket.com, resulting in Brits potentially wasting large sums of money each year by paying for services they no longer use.

With 95 per cent of current account holders using Direct Debits to pay for bills, goods and other services, MoneySupermarket.com urges consumers to keep an eye on where their money is going each month.

The research found that the average monthly amount being paid through Direct Debit stands at GBP297, while a quarter of those with Direct Debits are paying out over GBP500 through automatic payments each month.

Respondents with a current account were asked to remember the last time they checked their current account or statement, and whether they remembered seeing a Direct Debit they had previously forgotten about. Shockingly, almost one in 10 (7 per cent) noticed a Direct Debit they had forgotten about.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking atMoneySupermarketcommented: “Using Direct Debits to set up regular payment for household bills, subscriptions and memberships has become the norm for the majority of bank account holders in the UK. However with finances being squeezed by the rising cost of living it’s really important to check all your outgoings and make sure you are not paying for products or services you no longer use. Having a clear idea of what is coming in and going out of your account each month is absolutely crucial so it’s worth spending five minutes looking at statements and investigate any mysterious payments. Things like gym memberships or annual subscriptions can easily be forgotten and overlooking Direct Debits which are no longer needed could be a costly exercise.  However, don’t just cancel a Direct Debit without speaking to your provider first, otherwise you may be charged a fee by your bank if the provider tries to claim the money.

“Direct Debits are a great way to manage bills as not only do they avoid the issue of missing payments, but many companies will also offer customers a discount when they pay this way, making them a great budgeting tool. Providers will also often give customers a choice of payment dates when setting up a Direct Debit instruction. Consumers should think about when they are paid each month and pick a date when they can ensure there will be money available in the account to cover their bills.”

Notes to editors:

*Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,011 UK adults aged 18+ from 28th to 31st of October 2011. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

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